Best trails in Lighthouse Field State Beach, California

416 Reviews
Explore the most popular trails in Lighthouse Field State Beach with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Also known as Point Santa Cruz, this area forms the northern boundary of Monterey Bay. It is one of the last open headlands in any California urban area. Surfers, tourists, birds - including the rare Black Swift and wintering Monarch butterflies are drawn to this area. Sea lions populate the offshore rocks. This is one of the places where Monarch butterflies winter along the California coast. Monarchs are unique because they migrate each winter to avoid freezing weather. The Monarchs wintering here, come from the west of the Rocky Mountains. Monarchs east of the Rockies go to central Mexico for the winter. The lighthouse is home to California's first surfing museum and is the location each Christmas for "Caroling Under the Stars," a Santa Cruz tradition which attracts hundreds of locals and visitors. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive. Overlooking internationally renowned surfing hotspot Steamer Lane, this museum has photographs, surfboards, and other interesting items tracing over 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz. Park open 7am-sunset year round.

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Map of trails in Lighthouse Field State Beach, California
Park information
Park hours
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
7:00 am - 5:55 pm
Helpful links
Top trails (1)
#1 - West Cliff Drive
Lighthouse Field State Beach
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Length: 4 mi • Est. 1 h 39 m
Note: Due to COVID-19 measures, the parking lots are closed. These gentle, family-friendly trails are multi-use and available for walking, cycling, skating, and beach access. This is a great place for a sunset stroll. The path covers visual and physical access to: Surfing, cycling, skating, walking, tidepools, beach, kite flying, fishing, frisbee, sponge and skimboarding, dogs playing on the beach and open fields, sea otters, seals, whales and dolphins and monarch butterflies in season, pelicans, cormorants, seagulls and shorebirds, crabs, sea anemones, lighthouse, and all ages of people out enjoying themselves. Within walking distance of one end is the Boardwalk and municipal pier, the other end has Natural Bridges State Park. Moderate temperature in summer. Bring your camera, binoculars, and the whole family including your dog (leash required on the path but not on Lighthouse Beach). Probably one of the most densely packed nature walks and recreation area in Santa Cruz. Accessibility: This trail follows two miles of a paved, mixed-use bicycle path along the scenic Santa Cruz Coast. It is smooth with a typical width of at least four feet. The estimated average grade is 2% and the max grade is 6% so it is mostly gentle.Show more